Why You Shouldn’t Use AdWords Express

Category: Search Engine Marketing


A laptop open up to Google Ads.
AdWords Express has been called the simplified version of Google Ads. It was designed for small businesses that don’t have the time or the knowledge to run Google Ads.

While AdWords Express is just like Google Ads in that your text-based ads will be displayed at the top and bottom of a Google search, on Google Maps pages, and across the Google partner site network, we don’t advise businesses use it even though it’s quick and easy. Here’s why.

You can’t select location-based keywords

This one is irritating as most people have a city or ‘near me’ in their search queries. Because you can’t select location-based keywords in AdWords Express, ads end up going everywhere, and if you’re a small, local business this is a terrible way to waste your marketing dollars.

You’re limited with your keyword matching

You’re stuck with broad match keywords in AdWords Express. This means your ads will also appear under similar keywords to the ones you selected.  

Broad match means your ad can appear in searches that have a keyword you bid on, but that isn’t always good for your business.

Like if you’re a contractor and you bid for ‘contractor boston,’ you may appear in a search results regarding how to become a contractor.

You’re not able to build a negative keyword list

Negative keywords are the keywords you don’t want your ad to appear for and they are important for any campaign.

Imagine if you’re an IT company for businesses and your ad starts appearing for searches related to personal computer repairs.

Or imagine if you’re an interior designer who helps clients redesign their rooms, but doesn’t do remodeling projects, and your ad starts appearing for bathroom and kitchen remodeling projects.

Or what if you offer a high end product, you wouldn’t want your ad to show for search queries where the words ‘cheap’ and ‘inexpensive’ were typed.

In AdWords Express, you can turn off keywords that you don’t want to bid on, but this won’t actually keep Google from showing your ad for that keyword. Your ad could also still show to a searcher using one of your negative keywords through another broad match keyword.

You can’t track conversions

In AdWords Express, you can’t add conversion tracking! This is one of the worst qualities of AdWords Express in our opinion. While AdWords Express can show you how many clicks you are getting, it will not tell you who has converted from those clicks. Most businesses don’t use AdWords Express or Google Ads just to increase their website traffic. They are usually trying to increase sales. With the ability to track conversions possible on Facebook Ads, email marketing, and regular Google Ads, it’s a waste to not know with AdWords Express.

You can’t add ad extensions

Ad extensions are callout links, site links, and snippets. Ad extensions make your ads more enticing to users because they have more content.  

Another annoying thing about AdWords Express is you have a limited number of characters. You have 25 characters in the headline, 35 characters each in the two lines of text, and 35 characters in the display URL. This makes coming up with catchy headlines and a clear call-to-action even harder.

AdWords Express has a minimum monthly budget of $45

Another reason why we don’t like AdWords Express is it gives the impression you can have a small marketing budget to advertise on Google. We always tell our clients that any monthly budget under $500 is not worth their time. As we’ve all heard this before, it takes money to make money.

As you can see, Google Ads gives you control and optimization. To learn more about Google Ads, check out our earlier blog post, Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads here.

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